The UK building on world-class universities, pharma companies, to eradicate tropical diseases

International Development Secretary,  United Kingdom (UK), Priti Patel, has said that the UK will build on the great work done by it world-class universities, pharma companies and NGOs tackling Neglected Tropical Diseases by investing in pioneering research to drive the development of drugs that will control or eliminate tropical diseases.

Water1

Most communities in Africa rely on stream water for household use

According to the WHO, water, sanitation and hygiene are essential for preventing and managing diseases including neglected tropical diseases which affect over 1 billion people among the poorest communities.

“The UK will protect over 200 million people from the pain and disfigurement caused by treatable tropical diseases,” Patel announced in April, adding that Britain is already leading the way in fighting these diseases, and will more than double its support over the next 5 years.

He said the UK will invest a total of £360 million on implementation programmes to tackle NTDs between 2017-2018 and 2021-22 and will include £205 million of new support from 2017/18 to 2021/22; £55 million for the next two years which ‎forms part of an existing UK commitment made at the London Declaration in 2012; and £100 million allocated from the Ross Fund portfolio.

The Ross Fund Portfolio, he noted, is a £1 billion programme, which brings together UK Government investments to tackle the world’s deadliest infectious diseases by developing, testing and delivering a range of new products (including vaccines, drugs and diagnostics).

Neglected Tropical Diseases, such as trachoma, Guinea worm and river blindness, are avoidable infections but can deform, disable, blind and even kill if left untreated. They affect over a billion people in the poorest and most marginalised communities in the world, stopping children going to school and parents going to work – costing developing economies billions of dollars every year in lost productivity and reducing overall global prosperity.

tropicalThe UK’s total support package is aimed at wiping out Guinea worm, which is transmitted through dirty water; eliminate visceral leishmaniasis in Asia, a parasitic disease caused by infected sand-flies which destroy the internal organs; prevent up to 400,000 cases of blindness caused by trachoma, the leading cause of infectious blindness in the world; and prevent tens of thousands of cases of disability caused by lymphatic filariasis, a mosquito-transmitted disease which can cause severe swelling of the lower limbs.

“These diseases belong to the last century. They cause unimaginable suffering and pain to some of the world’s poorest people, forcing them into a deeper cycle of poverty with no way out. Yet they are treatable.

“The UK’s support will protect over 200 million people from a future blighted by tropical disease and represents a huge leap towards ending this scourge,” he said.

 

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Categories: Diseases

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